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Helping toddler cope with broken leg

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'm not putting in this health and healing, because it's not about medical/health concerns.

Dd broke her leg today. She was with her sitter, but it was a freak accident, not the sitter's fault. She'll be in a full leg cast for at least 6 and probably 8 weeks.

This could not have come at a worse time for us. We're moving to another state in 5 weeks. We had a trip to Disney planned in less than two weeks--I think we will probably have to just cancel it. I'm not even sure if we can reschedule, because dh and I start new jobs after the move. Her birthday is coming up. She goes to nursery school three mornings a week, and will likely not be able to go--her nursery school time was when I was going to get training I need for my new job, which begins this summer.

A move, canceling a fun trip, ending school--all of these things might be difficult enough, but with a broken leg...

I'm just not sure what to do to make everything easier for her, let alone how to keep her entertained and happy, particularly with a house to pack up and other things (no, we can't afford to have movers do the packing for us, and we're moving to a much smaller space, so there's tons of sorting that needs to be done).

What makes this especially awful for me is that dd is a "joiner." She's enthusiastic about everything. She loves school. She's been talking about Disney World for months. She is incredibly active. I was holding her hand in the hospital, while they set her leg, and I just felt so unbelievably hopeless.

If anyone has experience with this, I would be extremely grateful for any advice/support.
post #2 of 34
I don't have much advice, but I have a friend whose toddler broke her leg last summer...and I remember her saying that she was surprised how quickly the weeks went by! Her dd learned how to walk and drag her cast, which was a little sad, but it worked! She also had a birthday and a move...

I'm so sorry for you and your kiddo!

Good luck!
post #3 of 34
Man, I am SO sorry. Ugh. I'd talk to her doctor before you cancel Dworld. They're really great about accommodating wheelchairs. Granted, it would be a somewhat different experience, but she's so young that she's not going to miss Space Mountain or other things she wouldn't be able to ride. Just a thought.

I'd probably try to set up as many playdates at home as I could. Maybe shorter, with a specific focus, like a craft. MY DS is also very social, so I feel for you there.

Good luck.
post #4 of 34
What a bummer! We tend to break our arms in this house, no fun for anybody.

I wanted to tell you though that my cousin broke her leg right before a Disney trip and not only did she get a great wheel chair from a medical supply rental, but once at Disney World they didn't ever have to wait in lines!
post #5 of 34
Sounds like my last May, though it was an arm instead of a leg. My son broke his arm two weeks before we were scheduled to make a cross-country move. He was almost 5, so a little older. It was nuts. I would say that with the Disney trip I'd be tempted to cancel. My son's arm was pretty painful even at 2 weeks out (it was a bad break, requiring surgery) and I would personally avoid coping with travel if you can avoid it. Can you reschedule the trip for a month or longer after she gets her cast off?

It was also 2 weeks before his big birthday party, and one week before the end of school. I took him to the last day of school, and he was quite scared of being bumped or jostled.

I'm sorry it happened to your daughter. It sounds so similar to our situation last summer, though a different limb. I can say that we lived through it. We got the insurance straightened out, survived the move, flight, etc. and DS's son is back to normal.

Do you have a portable DVD player? Once she is feeling a litttle less pain she'll probably be up to coloring, play dough, doll play?

Best wishes for quick healing!
post #6 of 34
I would go on the trip in your circumstances since it is something she has been looking forward to it for so long and you can't reschedule. It will be a different sort of trip, but it will still be magical and fun for your DD, it will give her something to look forward to for the next few weeks and then give her something to remember once you get back. I would post here: http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20 before you make a decision. It is a message board for disney addicts with disabilites. They can give you tons of advice about traveling to Disney in your situation.
post #7 of 34
So sorry this happened to her! My son broke his leg when he was 2 - 1 week before our 1 month trip to visit my dad in France. My son had a pretty simple break - so he had a cast, but no surgery. We made the trip anyways, and it was fine. I am horrible to admit this, but the trip over was actually easier because he couldn't run around. :

Try not to feel too bad or hopeless....The first few days were the hardest for all of us because he was in pain, he was newly immobilized and all of us were adjusting to a toddler in a cast. During that time, we did whatever was needed to keep him happy - his best friend came over to play, we and a few other people gave him presents (puzzles, blocks, art supplies - stuff you could do sitting in one spot), let him watch A LOT of TV (we don't watch much TV in our house, but this was pretty drastic!). Once he was past the pain, he was pretty eager to get up off the couch and try to get back to his normal stuff. We all just adjusted to life with a toddler in a cast. I had to carry him a lot and he kind of thudded around with the heavy cast. After a couple of weeks, he figured out how to walk on it and so could get around.

So, based on my experience, I would just prepare to spend time at home for the next few days. Once you guys start adjusting to it, you'll find life just goes on. I don't know if she is in a lot of pain or had surgery, but if not, I would still go to Disneyland. She can ride in the stroller and still see everything. You'll just end up carrying her a lot more, but you'd be doing that if you were home, too.

I hope she is feeling OK - and you are, too! I know it was really hard to see my baby in a cast. They are resilient, though and will get through this time and be fine. Good luck with everything you are doing this summer!
post #8 of 34
Ditto on the advice NOT to cancel Disney-- you'll get to hop the lines!

I don't know about the specifics of her nursery school, but I know DS's daycare is able to handle some medical issues like that (they sometimes have babies with plagiocephaly helmets, that kind of thing). Talk to them before determining if she can go.

My sister had a broken leg in a cast on her second birthday. My parents say it was a real PITA to give her a bath, but otherwise it really didn't cause a whole lot of problems.
post #9 of 34
Definitely do NOT take her out of school. You need that training for your job, she needs to be with her friends. Maybe give her a while off, though, until it stops hurting so much? For me, I'm in two minds about Disney- she'd need a stroller or to be carried for most of the time anyhow, and she'll still see everything
post #10 of 34
It seems really bad now because it just happened - and it is really a bummer, but have you heard of the new book 10-10-10? I haven't read it yet, but I think the gist of it is "how will this affect me ten weeks from now? ten months? ten years?" I am prone to overreacting, but I like the idea of the book.

In ten weeks, she will be completely healed. In ten months, you will totally settled in new home/jobs/school. In ten years, you will all be telling the story over the Thanksgiving table.

DEFINITELY go to Disneyworld! She broke her leg, but can still go on most of the rides and see the parades and meet the princesses! I would put a kid that age in a rented stroller at DW even without a broken leg - as it is just too much walking for kids of that age. And I agree that you won't have to wait in the lines for as long as you would have. She is already looking forward to it; don't take it away from her! Especially if you can't reschedule within the next month or two. Push her in a stroller or wheelchair, and pick her up and carry her onto the rides. Totally doable at her age!!

I'm really sorry it happened, but I wouldn't let it stop your plans to have her experience DW at this age - when it is all so magical and REAL. We take our kids at 3 or 4 - and when they see Ariel, to them it is really ARIEL! I love that. GO!!
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by flapjack View Post
Definitely do NOT take her out of school. You need that training for your job, she needs to be with her friends. Maybe give her a while off, though, until it stops hurting so much? For me, I'm in two minds about Disney- she'd need a stroller or to be carried for most of the time anyhow, and she'll still see everything
The decision to keep her in or take her out of school won't be our choice. The school has faced stuff like this before, and they need the orthopedic surgeon to tell them it's safe. When he x-rays the bone again on Monday, he'll be able to tell us whether it's safe to go back.

If we do cancel Disney, we WILL reschedule, I'm just not sure when.

She had a rough night last night--slept in bed with me, while dh slept in her room. We're currently having power of attorney forms faxed over here--I'm going to have to find a notary somewhere at 9 am in my neighborhood--because we're closing on our house this morning. What a mess.

Thanks to everyone for the advice--and the reminder that is will get better, which I really need this morning!
post #12 of 34
UPS stores usually have notaries.
post #13 of 34
Hi Mama,
I'll chime in with my commiserations and experience. My DD broke her leg (jumping off her highchair) at 18 months. Our ortho said to let her heal at her own pace, and try not to limit her or do things for her once she got past the immediate pain of it. Within 1 day of getting her cast on she was crawling around, within two days she was walking around, and within three days of getting her cast she was RUNNING around, climbing on playground equipment, climing over babygates, etc. The only changes we made were to have her front-facing in her carseat (bc we couldn't get her in the car rear-facing, and we did baby-baths again.
Oh, and BABYLEGS were life-savers. We bought several pairs of Babylegs legwarmers to cover the cast with. It meant she wasn't scratching her skin on the fiberglass, wasn't scratching our skin on the fiberglass, and wasn't scratching the floors. We also made our own "moonboot" out of duct tape, cling wrap, papertowels, and other stuff so she could run around outside and not get her cast wet or muddy.
Mama, just do what you need to do for the first few days.... lots of TV (even though we were TV-free at the time, DD watched a ton of videos the first two days)... lots of cuddles, and lots of Tylenol. BUT, then follow your LO's lead. Kiddos tend to heal pretty quickly, IMHO. I wouldn't cancel the trip yet, bc the cast/pain might not even be an issue by then. DD broke her leg right before Xmas, and we flew on an airplane with her, did the holiday stuff, etc. No big deal....
Hopefully your LO can go to daycare soon, bc the interaction with friends would probably help her feel good. And the move.... well good luck with that. We moved last fall and it was a crazy few days.... but I'm not sure a toddler in a cast would have changed that all that much (well, except I would have felt less guilty putting DVDs on while I packed a few boxes...)
Please keep us posted on her progress...........
post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
UPS stores usually have notaries.
Banks usually do as well, I would call around to either and see if you can find one.

I wouldn't necessarily cancel Disney either. It is definitely something that can be nearly fully enjoyed even in a cast.

I broke my arm (not nearly as bad as a leg!) in 2nd grade and had a cast for 6 weeks. Mine was also a freak accident while a babysitter was there and my parents felt so bad about it, not like it was there fault and it could have happened with anyone with us. Luckily mine didn't hurt much, hopefully the same for your daughter, though my skin did itch a lot towards the end and while it sucked to miss out on fun stuff in gym and the like, I also had people signing my cast and helping me out and got to figure out how to get dressed, bathe, use a drinking fountain, etc. with a cast. It definitely makes you appreciate your healthy body and also how you can compensate in a lot of ways.
post #15 of 34
OH man, I sympathize! I am right now at the two week point of a DD in a full leg cast. Mine broke her femur when she was swimming. I did pull her out of school because I felt that she would have to have a caretaker looking out for her, ready to carry her to the bathroom, move her around in her wheelchair or just generally attending to her in a way that an independently moving child does not need. The school said they can accommodate us, but I chose to keep her out for the first two weeks at least.

I have to say: the first two nights were the WORST. She was in a lot of pain. The pain wore off within the first week, and the only thing that she has complained about is the itching. Kids adapt really quickly, and I'm surprised that she's not complaining about it more. The worst part of this whole adventure was her being in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Once that's over, it's fine. I'm back to sleeping in my bed now, the first week or so I had to be near her, we're much more comfortable now.

I've been to Disney a ton (live in Florida, it's a quick trip), and I would definitely bring my DD there in her current state. It's super accessible, in a stroller or wheelchair you will get everywhere you need to go. Just plan out your day to go from ride to ride, there's not a whole lot you will miss at all. I think it would totally be worth it to go there still.

The most challenging part for us is keeping her occupied. How old is she? I have spent hours so far helping her do workbooks, with iSpy books, playdough, anything that keeps her busy for 15 minutes while I run around and do other things is golden. You have so much going on, stock up on these kinds of activities. Maybe your preschool can give some work to do at home with her?

Maybe you can find alternative care for her in a week or two so that you can do your job training. Any family that can help? I have had to be really flexible and people have been great about it. I've brought her into work with me, taken a bunch of time off. She's in a great mood.

It will DEFINITELY get better! just don't get the cast wet!! (DD wet her bed last weekend and I spent all saturday morning with a blow dryer down her cast -- no fun!) Hang in there, and I'm sending healing thoughts to your DD!
post #16 of 34
to the babylegs idea!!! The edges of our wooden furniture are all scraped up from the cast rubbing against it. I wish I had thought of that!
post #17 of 34
I totally empathize with you! DD broke her foot last summer (I know not as bad as a leg, but still . . .). Our lives at the time were chaotic as well: Dh was finishing his Ph.D. and there would be a weeks where he slept at the lab or had to drive to another university to do research, etc., and we wouldn't see him. We were also 2 weeks away from moving to a new state. Things were very stressful and when dd broke her foot I nearly lost it, thinking I just could not handle anything else. Amazingly, though, it all worked out beautifully. After the first day of being casted, dd learned to walk around on her cast just fine. After a week she was running and even climbing while wearing her cast. The only adjustments I had to make was not giving her a bath (I wiped her down each night with baby wipes and washed her hair using No Rinse shampoo that I got at the drugstore). She was casted for a month so we made up a calendar counting down the days until it came off, and every morning she'd put a sticker on that day's number. In the end, it really wasn't as hard as I had expected. The hardest part was when she had to have her initial x-rays and she was screaming and writhing so much they had to hold her down. But she lived.

I'm really sorry that your daughter broke her leg. So much stress, I know! I'd still try and do the Disney trip since it sounds like you all may need some fun stress relief. Perhaps you can check out their website or call their customer service number and ask how accomodating they would be for a child in a wheelchair (and if they have wheelchair rentals available). As for things to keep you dd busy, perhaps some activity books (coloring, dot to dot, picture searches) would be fun for a few days until she feels more comfortable moving around on her leg. There's always playdough, books on tape, and DVDs as a last resort.
post #18 of 34
We've gone through this twice. With both kids, it was amazing how fast they adapted and started to get around.

We went to a theme park for a day with dd in a cast, and actually it was great. They had a policy of not having to wait in lines, plus, if she had one ride and wanted another, she was allowed to stay on and didn't have to get off and wait for a second try.

We didn't bother with wheelchairs, just a stroller. So I'd think before I cancelled your trip.

post #19 of 34
Does she actually have a cast yet? If she doesn't, ask about a waterproof one. It will probably not be covered by insurance and may run you an extra $50-75 bucks or so. But it is so worth it! With a waterproof cast my son was able to shower, swim (in the pool -- they don't recommend ocean or natural water due to bacteria issues) and so forth.

I would definitely do Disney. They are so great with kids in wheelchairs! You get to jump the lines, they will help you in/out of things and so forth. They are very set up for children with handicaps.

I know that with broken arms (we've never had legs broken), my child was able to do normal preschool (and later elementary school) without any restrictions as all. Obviously leg would be a bit harder, but as long as he can get in/out of the toilet on his own he should be fine.

Don't panic before you need to -- I'm betting you can make a lot of what seems impossible work just fine! Hang in there -- it will be OK and so will he!
post #20 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'm really on the fence with Disney. The trip is scheduled for only 11 days after she broke her leg. So there's no telling how she'll be at this point. We were planning to do two days at theme parks, but the other big events planned were beach, swimming, parks, and so on. She won't be able to do any of that. (They had to cast her immediately; it's not waterproof.) And it's not like we can afford to do a vacation like this all the time, so we really want her to enjoy it if we go. It was, in fact, to be the first real family vacation (i.e., not just going home to visit family) that we've taken since she was born, and the only one we figured we could afford for the next two years.

I'm leaning toward rescheduling for late July/early August, if we can make it work with the new jobs. We'd incur additional costs (changing our plane tickets; she'd be over three, so we'd have to pay admission for her to the park and other things that under-threes get free), but I really, really want it to be fantastic experience for her. She has severe food allergies and misses out on a lot--pizza, birthday cake (except her own, made by me), snacks with the other kids at school, eating at restaurants, and so on. I kind of just don't want her to have to face ANOTHER thing that she only gets to participate in halfway, yk?
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